Pound cake with chocolate glaze

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Once upon a time, probably in 2009 or something, I bought a box of pound cake mix. I probably had plans for it, an idea that slipped away and has long since been forgotten. It sat in the pantry in not one, but two kitchens, as different boxes and bottles of ingredients around it were routinely used, finished off and replaced. Last night, it was finally pulled off of its shelf.

In all honesty, it almost ended up in the garbage, because … guys, I’m a little embarrassed about this … its “best by” date was almost three years ago.

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Pumpkin cupcakes

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So it’s been nearly a month since my last update. I wish I could tell you I had a good reason for it – like rescuing pooches from dog fighting rings – but my excuses are pretty lame, and basically boil down to “not having a cable for the camera” and “I decided to watch The Hobbit for the billionth time instead,” so let’s just pretend my excuses are good ones.

I’m about to make up for the slacking, though. With cupcakes.

Pumpkin ones.

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With maple cream cheese frosting.

I hope you’re not pumpkin’ed out – I mean, come on; we’ve still got another week till Halloween, the most pumpkin-tastic holiday of them all, and then we’ve got November, which is pretty gourd-errific. Fall is in full swing, and I’m enjoying it, save for crying a little inside when I had to put a jacket on yesterday morning. But, cardigans and scarves and pumpkin spice coffee, oh my! It’s pretty great, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the leaves are taking their sweet time changing colors. As long as we don’t get bombarded with another October superstorm, or snowstorm, I’ll put Fall 2013 in the ‘win’ column. (Too bad the Giants can’t do the same.)

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Raspberry cheesecake bars

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While I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (I’ll take a bag of chips over a pint of ice cream just about any day), there are a few desserts that I absolutely love. Chocolate is one of them. Cheesecake is another. And on the rare occasion that I get a craving for something sweet … that craving just won’t quit ’til I stuff some sugary goodness right in my gob.

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Cheesecake & procrastination.

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For someone whose life (work life, anyway) is dictated by meeting deadlines, you’d think I wouldn’t be such a procrastinator. My rationale is, I work better under pressure. If I know I have several weeks to get something done, I shrug it off and occupy myself with other things. It’s a terrible habit, but I always get my work done, my bills paid, et cetera.

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On that note, my mother’s birthday was a little over two months ago. I made her a cake, and I am just telling you about this now.

It’s not that it wasn’t delicious (it was), or that I didn’t photograph it (I did), or that I wasn’t proud of it (I am). But there were other recipes in the queue. Freelance assignments to finish. New episodes of Arrested Development to watch. Dear Prudence columns to be read. 

Excuses, am I right? But no matter! Be undaunted by cheesecake no longer, because if I can churn out a delectable, slightly lemony cheesecake, I’m sure you can, too.

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A rant about cliches, and a cliche recipe.

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On my commute to work every morning, I am fortunate enough to be able to listen to a really great public radio station. I think we can all agree that most morning radio shows are the absolute worst – lots of people babbling on about pop culture nonsense, peppering their banter with obnoxious sound effects. For a long time, I wouldn’t even dream of listening to the radio in the morning – but then the adapter for my iPod/phone broke (first world problems), and because my car is, oh, 12 years old (and will continue to keep on kickin’ for a long time, knock on wood), there’s no little port where I can just plug in my iPod and let it stream without having to fiddle with the radio stations, hoping for a signal and clear feedback. Also, my car is new enough to not have a tape deck, which means I can’t hook up my new-fangled gadgets that way, either.

(This is probably entirely too much information, but please stick around – I made cookies and I’m getting to that.)

So I got tired of my (and Colin’s) CDs and decided to suck it up and just listen to the radio.

There was a pretty good college radio station that had good reception on my old commute, but once I started working at my new job, that station would crap out about .2 minutes into my drive. So I did some channel-surfing, and found a really great public radio station that plays an awesome variety of music, pipes in NPR News hourly, and even has A FREAKING TRIVIA GAME in the morning. Where you can win prizes. Ugh, I love trivia so much. And while the two morning hosts occasionally break in with some banter and weird news stories, they’re endearing as opposed to obnoxious. Like, I kind of want to be friends with them, as creepy as that sounds.

But every once in awhile, they sneak in a song that is just downright terrible. I’m not talking Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe-Through-the-Tulips” or Richard Harris “MacArthur’s Park” terrible (sorry, Dad, I know you love it), but just something that is an insult to the musical industry – one that, unfortunately, many people might find pleasant or enjoyable. Usually I’m able to just change the station and forget about it, but it’s been a couple of weeks since I heard this song and I’m still furious about it. It’s called “I Don’t Miss You” by some guy named Sharif, and it is literally the most insipid, infuriating song I’ve ever heard. If this song was a person, I’d want to hit it in the face with a shovel, just after I finish bludgeoning every character in Something Borrowed.

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Salted caramel brownies

Originally posted February 2013.

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I moved out of my parents’ house, the house I spent my entire life in, in August of 2009. I don’t count college, because although I lived on campus at a school about an hour away from home, I still had a room at my childhood home. I still had a bed there, collages and photographs on the walls, clothes in the closet, and I returned there many weekends, and every single winter and summer break. While I lived away for the majority of the year, a dorm was never my “home,” no matter how comfortable it was or how much fun I had. Home was the place where I’d spent my entire childhood, learned how to ride a bike, thrown an oversized pink-and-purple softball against the wall with the steadfast hope that my female-equivalent-of-Little-League softball coach would let me pitch just ONE game. When I think about it, that house will always be home, in some way, although literally within 24 hours of moving out, my sister high-tailed it into my bedroom and painted my once soft yellow walls pumpkin orange. So…there’s that.

I’m getting sidetracked. In August of 2009, I moved into a two bedroom apartment about 20 minutes way from my childhood home with one of my best friends. We lived there for two years and, in spite of the wildebeests living above us, we had a great time. Chelsea is kind, funny and easygoing, and I’m thrilled that we meshed as well as roommates as we did as friends.

However, in the summer of 2011, I moved in with the love of my life, and while I couldn’t be happier with the life we’re building together, I do miss hanging out with Chelsea several times a week, watching 30 Rock (good GOD, Lemon!) and Parks & Rec every Thursday, curling up on the couch to plot our own killer sitcom, and lavishing attention on our her petulant, adorable bunny rabbit, Mr. T. We did make a pact to have date nights at LEAST once a month, and in spite of our crazy schedules and job changes, we’ve managed to adhere to that pact pretty well, which makes me really happy because I’m generally terrible at keeping in touch with people. Seriously, if I lived in an age where Facebook wasn’t a thing, I’d probably be a hermit.

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When am I gonna need to cook tiramisu? Am I gonna be a chef?

Originally posted November 2012.

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I hope you guys had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I know I did. Even though we celebrated a day late because my sister’s father in law is a firefighter and had to work on Thursday, we all had a blast up at Katie’s place in the North Country. Seriously, it’s like, Arctic-north up there. It’s freezing and you can get Canadian stations on the radio. They’re very amusing. Everyone speaks with slight accents and there are commercials about curling. Really.

There were seven humans and five dogs in a two-bedroom apartment, so it was a cacophanus (that’s not a word, is it? I’m making it one. I decided.) holiday weekend-of-sorts. I say “of sorts” because the festivities ended Friday night (for us, at least), when Colin and I, bellies full of turkey and stuffing and tiramisu, embarked on the nearly-six hour trek home. The drive was totally worth the company, though, and it beats the hell out of the 14-hour drive to Savannah, where Katie and Craig used to live. (I’m still a little bummed we never got to visit the Forrest Gump bench, though, and I do miss Tybee Island more than I should.)

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Banana bread, or how I avoided cleaning my kitchen.

Originally posted October 2012.

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After spending Friday cleaning practically every corner of the apartment, Colin asked if I would be so kind as to clean the kitchen for him the next day.

What I said: Sure!
What I didn’t say, but should have also done: Found some sort of magical way to pull the metal stopper out of the drain in the sink so we don’t have to brush our teeth in the bathtub.
What I did: Continued my umpteenth re-read of the Harry Potter series, played with Sam, talked to my college roommate, made banana bread.

I was banking on Colin not caring that the kitchen was still in pretty scruffy shape by the time he got home from work, because that kid loves banana bread.

Also, it’s not like I didn’t clean the kitchen on Sunday. I’m not that horrible.

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Apple Bread

Originally posted April 2011.

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You know what I should have done tonight?

Laundry. I mean, since I’m leaving for scenic Hinesville, Georgia, in about 48 hours and there is a heaping pile of clothing in my laundry basket strewn about my closet in the vicinity of my laundry basket, you’d think I’d take a step toward making the whole packing endeavor a little easier tomorrow evening.

I’ll be kicking myself tomorrow as I whine, “I don’t know what to weeeaaarrrrr….”

But not tonight. For tonight, I not only ate my favorite potato chips, drank my favorite (well, one of them) beer, and listened to the new album of my favorite band (holy moly, you MUST listen to “Wasting Light.” Like, if there is one thing you take from this post, I can’t decide if it’s “make my recipe” or “listen to the new Foo Fighters album.” I am that conflicted.)…

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I did my one of my fa-vo-rite thiiiings — tried out a new recipe!

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